Nestled in one of America’s most prominent urban enclaves, just blocks from the fabled Venice Boardwalk, a 4,000-square-foot ocean-front home sits glowing in sunny Venice, California. And for every aspect that reveals the easy-going nature of the home’s location, a contemporary facade and full-automated Savant system from Bob McDaniel and his team at South Bay Automation solidify it as one of the smartest houses on the block. 

McDaniel was fortunate to get the project as it was being framed, allowing his team to envision a game plan that organized “the perfect wiring, shading, electronics, and integration plans,” to characterize the aesthetic without interfering. 

“There was an emphasis on the systems complimenting the home design,” McDaniel said. “There are no dimmers or switches on the walls. The TVs were painstakingly centered in prefabricated niches to keep the front glass of the televisions flush with the wall. There aren’t even visible thermostats as they are hidden behind the walls.” 


And because there was such a demand to keep the aesthetic simple, Savant was the undeniable choice for the client. The single interface for audio, video, entry-access, surveillance, security, HVAC, shades, and lighting fulfilled all the needs.  

“Savant was an unknown to the client, and we were able to convince them that it was the right luxury solution for their custom residence,” McDaniels said. “In addition to the best UI in the industry, Savant provides a reliable and consistent experience for the client.” 

The client was also serious about security, resulting in the installation of sixteen IC Realtime IP cameras and a DSC security system that the client has full control of both through Savant. Two flush-mount Holovision 700 Series door stations provide notification and camera feed to the clients’ phones. The client can trigger the door strikes to grant access from the same screen. 


Another trick meant to keep a simple interface was to hide all the visible thermostats on the walls, replaced by just two small temperature sensors in each zone. The sensors send the temperature readings back to the hidden thermostats and display that information in real time to the owner. Then, all the control and scheduling of the climate can be done through Savant. 

The thirteen-zone audio system is sourced by two Savant music streamers, amplified by Sonance, and switched through a Savant Switch. The speakers are a combination of Sonance Architectural Series Discreet Opening satellites with band-pass subwoofers, as well as Monitor Audio C-Series speakers. The Sonance line of speakers were the same size as the clients’ high-end light fixtures and were precisely aligned to provide an elegant audio solution that didn’t disturb any room’s function. 

In the end, the dedication paid off. Between perfect alignment of the audio system speakers, opting to use HomeWorks QS Designer SeaTouch Keypads instead of dimmers or switches, and a combination of recessed motorized and manual Lutron Sivoia QS shades, the home preserves an open-air characteristic as it faces the open horizon of the ocean.